current exhibitions

  • vlr
     
    Veeder Living Room

    The Connecticut Historical Society is located in a Colonial Revival mansion originally owned by inventor Curtis Veeder.

  • try it Gallery at CHS
     
    Try It! Connecticut Places, People, Collections, & Me

    If you live in Connecticut now, had ancestors here long ago, or just enjoy visiting, you are part of this story.

  • A2010.3.313 slacks
    Apr 11, 2014 - Sep 13, 2014
    Katharine Hepburn: Dressed For Stage and Screen

    Sassy. Daring. Talented. Beautiful. Determined. Fashionable. Iconic. Hepburn.

  • Try out Colonial Life!
     
    Making Connecticut

    Don’t miss this exhibit 400+ years in the making! Colorful, interactive, and filled with more than 500 historic objects, images, and documents, Making Connecticut is the story of all the people of Connecticut, from the 1500s through today.

  • Tavern Signs in Auditorium
     
    Inn & Tavern Signs of Connecticut

    The Connecticut Historical Society’s collection numbering more than 60 signs is by far the largest and most spectacular in the country.

upcoming exhibitions

online exhibitions

  • Collection Highlights feature
    August 6, 2014
    Collection Highlights

    The CHS collection has more than 265,000 artifacts & images, over 3.5 million manuscripts, & over 125,000 books & pamphlets dating from the 1600s to today.

  • Remembering G. Fox & Co.
    July 14, 2014
    Remembering G. Fox & Co.

    Once America’s largest privately-owned department store, G. Fox & Co. operated in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, from 1847 until 1993.

past exhibitions

  • private-works
    Jan 1, 2014 - Aug 1, 2014
    Private Works 2013

    Private Works 2013 was the fourth installation in the “micro-gallery” at the CHS, under the direction of Scott Comanzo, Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the University of Hartford. This micro-exhibit delved into a realm of “history in the making” as part of the worldwide centennial celebration of 1913–the year that gave birth to…
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  • The Connecticut Photo Contest
    Oct 11, 2013 - Mar 29, 2014
    The Connecticut Photo Contest

    In conjunction with the Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers exhibit, selected entries from The Connecticut Photo Contest were on display, including category winners for Connecticut People, Connecticut Architecture, and Connecticut Landscape, as well as Best in Show. Visitors to the exhibit could vote for the Viewers’ Choice Award, which was announced in…
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  • Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers
    Oct 11, 2013 - Mar 29, 2014
    Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers

    This exhibit introduced a new collection of photography donated by the Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation as well as a collection by Marie Kendall. The photographs document two generations of women photographers in Connecticut. Harriet V. S. Thorne (1843-1926), a talented amateur, used her camera to compose exquisite and moving pictures of the people and places…
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  • Behind the Wheel
    May 23, 2013 - Sep 28, 2013
    Behind the Wheel

    An exhibit about learning and loving to drive when cars were new, Behind the Wheel showcased a new collection of colorful automobile safety posters printed in the 1930s-1950s. The posters were printed by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and distributed by the Automobile Club of Hartford. Other auto safety-related items included early driver’s licenses, motor…
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  • This Won't Hurt a Bit! A History of Pain Relief
    Apr 26, 2013 - Sep 28, 2013
    This Won’t Hurt a Bit! A History of Pain Relief

    This exhibit explored the ways Connecticut’s residents and companies help people manage their pain—both dull and acute—paying particular attention to Horace Wells’s discovery of anesthesia. The discovery of pain-free surgery is a critically important part of medical and dental history. The story of its discovery and the controversy surrounding who first discovered were told. CHS…
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  • Time Warps: Textiles from Today's Weavers
    Apr 20, 2013 - May 17, 2013
    Time Warps: Textiles from Today’s Weavers

    This juried exhibit of handwoven goods displayed the work of contemporary weavers who used both historical and modern techniques and designs. The Biennial Show organized by the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut included articles of clothing (scarves, shawls, jackets), decorative pieces (wall hangings), and household items (table runners, rugs, towels, blankets). The work was produced by…
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  • Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart
    Jan 18, 2013 - Apr 13, 2013
    Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart

    This exhibit explored the history of food in Connecticut using a diverse collection of cookbooks with recipes that ranged from the scrumptious to the not-so-tasty. It was created in a collaboration between Museum Studies students from Central Connecticut State University and graphic designs students from the University of Hartford. Cooking by the Book showcased one…
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  • Tiny Art: Connecticut Poster Stamps
    Sep 27, 2012 - Jan 12, 2013
    Tiny Art: Connecticut Poster Stamps

    Poster stamps, also known as “cinderellas,” are posters shrunk to the size of stamps that became popular in the early twentieth century. They are non-denominated, meaning they cannot be used to mail anything, but they were used to advertise businesses and events or to make political statements. First created in Germany around 1907, these brightly-colored…
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  • Cats & Dogs in Art and Life
    Sep 27, 2012 - Apr 6, 2013
    Cats & Dogs in Art and Life

    Portrait and landscape paintings, drawings, needlework, sculptures, decorative household items, and photographs—all from the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society and never before seen together—were on display to illustrate the practical and emotional bonds between dogs, cats, and people and how those connections have changed or endured over time. Visitors were able to submit a…
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  • A Tradition of Craft: Current Works by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers
    Mar 30, 2012 - Sep 8, 2012
    A Tradition of Craft: Current Works by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers

    This juried exhibition of furniture, tools, and other household items showcased the work of contemporary woodworkers whose skill, passion, and appreciation of history keep traditional craft alive. Selected works created by members of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers were on display with authentic 18th- and 19th-century furniture from the collection of the Connecticut…
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  • Lost Landscapes: Great Trees from Connecticut's Past
    Nov 1, 2011 - Mar 17, 2012
    Lost Landscapes: Great Trees from Connecticut’s Past

    This companion exhibition to New Life for Connecticut Trees: Furniture by City Bench featured photographs of some of Connecticut’s most noble trees, most of which are no longer standing, from the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society.

  • New Life for Connecticut Trees: Furniture by City Bench
    Nov 1, 2011 - Mar 17, 2012
    New Life for Connecticut Trees: Furniture by City Bench

    The furniture and household objects in this exhibition were made from Connecticut trees once destined for landfills. City Bench, the creation of Ted Esselstyn and Zeb Esselstyn of Higganum, reclaims trees from small towns and big cities to create beautiful objects with meaning, and each piece was displayed with the tree’s family history, including its…
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  • September 11, 2001: Connecticut Responds and Reflects
    Aug 16, 2011 - Oct 15, 2011
    September 11, 2001: Connecticut Responds and Reflects

    The final installation of the traveling exhibit, September 11, 2001: Connecticut Responds and Reflects, featured a selection of objects, memories, photographs, audio clips and videos, as well as Connecticut’s 9/11 Memorial Library, paying tribute to each individual victim. The exhibit traveled around the state each fall between 2007-2010 in honor of the 153 Connecticut men,…
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  • Dining with a Society of Collectors
    May 18, 2011 - Aug 6, 2011
    Dining with a Society of Collectors

    This exhibit explored the collection of George Dudley Seymour, a pioneering antique collector who left an important group of furniture, ceramics, portraiture, and other objects to the Connecticut Historical Society in 1945. This exhibition was conceived, researched, and designed by graduate students from the Public History Program at Central Connecticut State University.

  • Echoes from Across the Ocean: From the Caribbean to Connecticut - Works by Stanwyck Cromwell
    Apr 12, 2011 - Oct 15, 2011
    Echoes from Across the Ocean: From the Caribbean to Connecticut – Works by Stanwyck Cromwell

    Echoes from Across the Ocean featured 36 collages, paintings, and drawings by Guyanese-born artist Stanwyck Cromwell who has lived in Connecticut for almost 40 years. Cromwell uses the materials and language of traditional painting and collage—saturated colors, patterns, textures, and found objects—to create works imbued with history and the way memories and personal experiences shape…
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  • Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art and Family 1740-1840
    Oct 5, 2010 - Mar 26, 2011
    Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art and Family 1740-1840

    This exhibit showcased decorated clothing, bedding, and accessories, school work by children, and masterpieces of needlework art depicting classical scenes, bucolic landscapes, and perfectly-rendered flora and fauna. Also on display were needlework dedicated to preserving family history and the work of one remarkable family—and an even more unusual young woman within that family, Prudence Punderson….
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  • Pictures for Victorian America: Prints by Hartford's Kellogg Brothers
    Jan 26, 2010 - Jul 17, 2010
    Pictures for Victorian America: Prints by Hartford’s Kellogg Brothers

    Lithographs by the Kellogg Brothers, a Hartford printing firm, help picture the lives, fashions, and interests of ordinary people in 19th-century Connecticut. The exhibit explored the process of making lithographs that were used for paintings, posters, advertisements, and cartoons affordable to the public. A companion publication was created with the exhibit, titled Picturing Victorian America:…
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  • The History of Women's Basketball in Connecticut
    Jan 17, 2009 - Jan 2, 2010
    She Shoots . . . She Scores! The History of Women’s Basketball in Connecticut

    She Shoots . . . She Scores! showcased how women’s changing social roles are paralleled in the game of basketball and how the passion to play continues to grow today. This exhibit featured memorabilia from throughout the last century and footage from some of the most exciting moments in the sport.

  • Small Things Considered
    Jul 13, 2007 - Nov 29, 2008
    Small Things Considered

    From a nutmeg to a strand of George Washington’s hair to the classic Wiffle Ball, visitors discovered the big impact small objects have made on history and our lives.

  • Connecticut Valley Furniture Made by Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries 1750-1800
    Jun 23, 2005 - Jan 15, 2006
    Connecticut Valley Furniture Made by Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries 1750-1800

    Showcasing the best high chests, secretaries, dressing tables, and other unique forms from Connecticut’s golden age of furniture design and production, this exhibit introduced the specific characteristics of design, decoration, and construction used in making attributions to major local style centers—the distinctive Chapin shop in East Windsor plus workshops in Wethersfield and Colchester. A companion…
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  • Are We Clean Yet?
    Oct 10, 2004 - Jun 5, 2005
    Are We Clean Yet?

    Over the past two centuries, cleanliness has been essential to our well-being. We have developed many techniques and products for keeping our homes and ourselves clean. Technology supposedly helps us develop “easier-to-use” and better products but have we really improved our ability to keep clean? This exhibit explored Connecticut’s contribution to the American pursuit of…
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  • Chance, Choice & Change: Coming to Connecticut
    Feb 3, 2004 - May 24, 2011
    Chance, Choice & Change: Coming to Connecticut

    Why have people moved to Connecticut over time? In this exhibit, visitors explored some of the difficult choices families made in deciding whether to come to Connecticut and the struggles they faced once they were here. Visitors were able to time themselves on the thread machine, sew tobacco leaves and set them to dry, build…
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  • comics
    Oct 19, 2003 - Sep 7, 2004
    Heroes, Heartthrobs and Horrors: Celebrating Connecticut’s Invention of the Comic Book

    In 1933, Eastern Color Printing in Waterbury produced the first modern format comic book, Funnies on Parade. In honor of the 70th anniversary, CHS introduced the general public to Connecticut’s important role in the development of the comic book, particularly during the Golden Age of comics from the 1940s through the 1950s.

  • maintaining-ties
    Jul 2, 2002 - Aug 31, 2003
    Finding a Place, Maintaining Ties: Greater Hartford’s West Indians

    This exhibit celebrated the history of Greater Hartford’s West Indian community—the third largest population of West Indians in the nation. Visitors learned about the community’s beginnings around World War II and the cultural traditions that live on today.

  • Amistad: A True Story of Freedom
    Feb 18, 1998 - Mar 25, 2010
    Amistad: A True Story of Freedom

    This exhibit explored the revolt by a group of Africans on the ship Amistad in 1839, their arrival in New London, the legal trials to determine their freedom, their life in Connecticut, and the local citizens who helped them.